2014 NSIAAA Scholarship Essay - District 1, State and Section V Winner
by Kiley
Schuerman, Wilber-Clatonia High School

The Life of a Student Athlete
         Throughout my high school career, my number one priority has always been academics. After all if academics didn’t come first I would be called an athlete student not a student athlete. However, between stressing over an upcoming project and studying for an exam, I found the time to participate in high school athletics which have provided me with a place to express who I am as a person and have helped me grow into the individual I am today. Unfortunately, my high school athletic career wasn’t always filled with wins. In fact some athletes have won more games in one season than I have in my whole career. Yet these losses have allowed me gain more life lessons than most athletes typically do. The abundance of adversity I have faced throughout my athletic career has taught me mistakes are the best way to learn, and the value of discipline, goal setting, teamwork, trust, honesty, and perseverance.
         By participating in interscholastic athletics I have had the opportunity to work together with and build lifelong relationships with my teammates and coaches. I have learned to depend on and trust my teammates, because as a team we are able to achieve far more than we are able to individually. Athletics provide you with an opportunity to learn from constructive criticism and is one place where making mistakes is acceptable and is even considered the best way to learn. As a team if we are able to combine what we learn as individuals and utilize our personal strengths we are able to achieve our common goals. Setting goals is crucial for every team’s success, but aren’t always about winning a tournament or winning the state championship. Throughout my athletic career, as a team, we have focused on smaller goals, because if at the end of the game we can say that we did our best and improved in one area of the game then we have accomplished our goal and are also winners.
         Along with learning how to work as a team, athletics have taught me various other valuable characteristics. As a student athlete you are required to maintain your grades to be able to participate in athletic events. Academics have always been important to me and being in athletics has required me to be responsible for the grades I’m receiving in the classrooms. I have also learned the importance of being discipline on and off the court. Through participation in athletics I have been a role model for younger students in our school and community. As a role model it is necessary for me to display a positive image for the youth by maintaining good character on and off the court. Additionally, athletics have taught me the importance of trust and honesty, while attending summer volleyball camps our team is often needed to officiate and ref lines. In these situations people trust me to be honest and to make the right call. Also when participating in athletics I have to trust my teammates, and I realize that honesty is one of the best ways to gain trust from my teammates. I have been able to trust all of my teammates by being honest with them and by holding them accountable as well.
Through participation in high school athletics I have became a devoted student in the classroom, a valuable role model for youth in our community, a dedicated leader, and have gained valuable traits to assist me in being successful in my post-secondary education and future endeavors. Athletics have simply provided me with a second home and family which has helped me discover who I am as a person. Athletics pushes people to be the best they can be, a trait that I will keep with me in my future plans.